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UNESCO Vote Must Be Approved by General Conference Meeting in 1976

October 10, 1975
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The executive board of UNESCO last night decided to somewhat soften its previous anti-Israeli resolutions which practically excluded Israel from the activities of the UN body. The executive board voted 23-3 with three abstentions, that only the members of a regional group, such as Europe, can decide what country can join them. This decision was apparently taken to prevent the Arab states from blocking Israel’s entry into the European group which is favored by most West European states.

Israeli sources here said the executive board vote, which must still be approved by the General Conference when it meets next year, does not change UNESCO’s past anti-Israel steps but only tries to prevent the Arabs from further isolating Israel within the organization.

UNESCO officials described the vote as an important conciliatory step and expressed the hope that its immediate consequence will be the resumption of America’s contribution to the organization’s budget.


These officials said that the vote could influence Congress to release the $22.5 million which it had withheld in retaliation for Israel’s de facto exclusion from UNESCO activities. Certain officials said privately that the board’s move was taken after informal consultations had been held with the U.S. delegation to UNESCO.

American sources here said, however, that they knew nothing about such consultations and that Washington had made no promises to this effect. These sources added that the board’s decision will still need to be approved by the General Conference where the Arabs and the Socialist bloc have a majority and that, moreover, it does not affect the basic anti-Israeli steps taken last year.

Israeli sources added that last year’s anti-Israel resolutions raised deep moral issues which still exist. They said only their complete removal will erase the discriminatory acts. The sources stressed that besides the regional problem, on which the board acted, other vital issues such as the sanctions resolutions on Jerusalem and the deliberate misrepresentation of the situation of education in the administered areas still exist.

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